As expectorant agents, they are anti-inflammatory, invigorating and diuretic.
Saponins consist partly of glucose, galactose or other sugars and a non-sugar part called sapogenin. The root of the word with which they are classified, "sapo", comes from Latin and refers to the soap with which these substances share the ability to produce foam in contact with water. Nature has inserted saponins into various plants with the aim of protecting them from certain microorganisms or predators that might otherwise attack them more easily. This capacity is due to the fact that saponins have a particularly bitter taste and are therefore unpleasant to insects and animals. Saponins are quite widespread among commonly used plants including quinoa, liquorice, basil, as well as legumes like soya and cereals such as oats.